Audio recording with video

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Andrew
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#1
I am increasingly being asked by more and more local bands to help out videoing them at their local gigs in pubs and clubs, in addition to photographing them.

In the past I have done videoing on numerous occasions using an assortment of cameras and camcorders.

I have a couple of good Panasonic camcorders, a Lumix FZ1000 camera and a Canon 5d3. Most off the cuff videoing I have used the FZ1000 for

By the nature of most of the venues there is not space to set up multiple tripods for space or security reasons. When I have the space etc available I have often used a Zoom Pro external recording unit.

Now I am looking to improve on the respective internal microphones when space is limited, so have been looking at the various camera mounted options, this is where the fun seems to start. and I need help

As my work is unpaid, its a personal challenge to get things as good as I can, budget is obviously a factor and I reckon appx £200 should get something adequate.

I have looked at external mics such as Rode but the key question is whether one of these shotgun type mics is the solution or whether there is an XY type similar to on the Zoom Pro external

Any advice, tips and guidelines to help me with my hobby would be great. If my friends want to use the video for a promo campaign they have said they will give me a payment so hence incentive to try and get it right but with a controlled expenditure - accept wont get perfection as that costs money, but hopefully something which will be reasonable is within my budget
 
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Mystery57
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#3
Simple reason behind that is they only have their vocals through the mixing desk, guitars and keyboards are through their amps
 
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#4
I really don't think you're ever going to get great results using microphones in front of house. The nature of sound coming from different sources means you will find it difficult to impossible to get a balanced sound (hence why most venues normally go through a desk which feeds their system). As a result the sound will likely be washed out from too much ambience.

If I was you I'd suggest they run everything through the desk and take a recording from that. Keep in mind that audio engineering is a skill in it's own right so if their engineer isn't used to it it may take practice. IN fact if it's your hobby then you could look into doing it yourself, as a little combo service :)
 
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Mystery57
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#5
Hi Andy I had already suggested they buy a decent mixing desk and put everything through it but its not something they want to do or can indeed afford. I cant justify doing it myself as getting too old in the tooth with my age :(
 
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#6
Fair enough, well 2 you have options then as far as I can tell.

Record audio from multiple sources and mix them together in post - this will only work if the quality of all the microphones is half decent however and is basically a workaround for not using a mixer. Essentially you would place an audio source where it will (mostly) capture one instrument, then you can use some free multi-track software (e.g. Audacity) to create a rudimentary audio mix of all the sources. Note that if the audio sources are on-camera, you will need to prioritise camera placement for audio vs video. You'll also need to sync everything up manually when you blend the sources...but with care this could provide a better result.

Your second option is just to take a single recording source like a Zoom stereo recorder or something, preferably with headphone monitoring, then move it around to find the best audio balance. This option doesn't give you much leeway and if the balance of instruments changes during the performance for whatever reason (e.g. guitarist turning their amp up), it will be very difficult to fix on the fly.

If you want any tips on audio recording give me a shout, I'm no expert but I have a degree in it so hopefully know a bit :)
 
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Mystery57
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#7
Thats some great information very much appreciated. I have managed to sync audio from camcorder to others in the past, but its always been in environments where space and security of equipment was never an issue. Ideally for placement I would have one camcorder or camera relatively central to the stage, and I like the idea of finding a location in the manner you suggested for the Zoom and will be reading up more on recommended locations for it. I've made a note of your kind offer to help if I get stuck that is a very nice appreciated offer. I think what brought this to a head for me, was last weekend they performed at a location which had decent lighting and a supplied sound system which the local barman ran - sounded good live, and through headphones when I checked the levels and got some great video BUT when listened to the recorded audio there was interference of some sort which had not been evident to the ear during the performance, other than mentioning to the sound guy that I had heard intermittent crackling on one of the speakers. Just have to keep the videos and see if I can blend in with some future performances as the light show was amazing. Incredible that the venue had such good lights and didnt know how to operate them, initially was stuck on dark red, in the end my wife who had done lighting performances in similar venues some 30 years ago took over, with equipment nobody knew how to use....hence my massive frustration as she achieved some great effects. I tried to lose the interference post in software but could not find a way to do anything sadly. I installed Audacity and tried running the various supplied effects to no avail.
 
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#8
Unfortunately with audio it is impossible to polish a turd! If there is distortion (either from gain levels during recording being too high or radio interference from a mobile phone or something else) there isn't much you can do about it. It's definitely a learning curve and rather frustrating that a place that apparently see's itself as enough of a venue to put on gigs doesn't run everything through a desk into the house system haha, but such is life!

Sounds like a fun little project anyway! Good luck with it :)
 
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Mystery57
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#9
Indeed, I said to the band would have been much better if they had done their own sound :)

Thanks again Andy
 
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